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Idaho, California cities deemed best in U.S. for men

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. men looking for the best place to find happiness, health and a good quality of life might consider heading to Boise, Idaho, or San Jose and San Francisco in northern California.

The three western U.S. cities top the list of the 100 best towns for men in a new ranking compiled by Men's Health magazine, while Charleston, West Virginia, Philadelphia and Birmingham, Alabama are considered the worst.

"Anytime we do a best and worst city ranking and a city comes in at the very top like this, it immediately says to us they were consistently strong across the board in pretty much all of the 38 criteria that we looked at," Men's Health Executive Editor Matt Marion said.

Boise, which jumped from fifth place last year, scored high marks for the physical and mental health of its residents, its low crime rate and short commuting times - an average of just 18 minutes.

"Boise finishing number one was interesting to us because it is a city that would have finished in the top 20, but to come in right at the top is impressive," Marion said.

San Francisco, which consistently ranks high in the annual list, impressed with its small percentage of obese people, low number of smokers and highly educated and generally fit population.

San Jose had very low death rates from cancer and heart disease, the lowest percentage of smokers in any of the 100 cities in the ranking, and not much crime.

Plano, in Texas and Seattle rounded out the top five, followed by Burlington, Vermont, which dropped from the top spot last year.

At the opposite end of the list, high cancer rates, violent crime and poor fitness levels assured Birmingham last place. In addition to Philadelphia and Charleston, West Virginia, the bottom five included Toledo, Ohio and St. Louis, Missouri.

New York ranked 33rd and Los Angeles was in the middle of the ranking.

The magazine compiled the list, now in its 12th year, by ranking the cities on criteria ranging from the cost of living, number of jobless, obesity, crime and death rates, to air quality and the ratio of men to women.

It used data from various sources including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, the National Center for Health Statistics, state cancer registries and federal crime statistics.

"The things that we do focus on ultimately are the ones that will make a difference in terms of whether or not you will be happy and healthy," Marion said.

The full list can be found at http://www.menshealth.com/best-life/best-cities-men

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Paul Casciato and Leslie Gevirtz)

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